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NOW SERVING — DESSERT! Grand Traverse Pie Co.’s sweet potato pie (shown here without the optional glazed pecan topping) is a big crowd-pleaser come fall, especially when served on pretty plates and stands. All products from Detroit Antiques & Props Inc. Grand Traverse Pie Co. has 15 Michigan locations. Information: gtpie.com.

Nuts About Kitchen Tools

Milford’s Acorn Farm Stirs Cooking Enthusiasts

acorn farm photos by nick hagen

In a building dating from the 1800s, situated on Main Street in the Village of Milford, Kathy Magaluk, left, scurries around her popular kitchen and home goods store, Acorn Farm, as she helps a customer find the perfect knife for chopping stir-fry veggies; double-checks next month’s calendar of store events, chock-full of cooking classes and demonstrations; approves the mouthwatering dessert, drink, and entrée recipe photos for her online newsletter; and assists a bride-to-be with her registry. Recently, she took a break from doing zucchini spiralizer demonstrations to share intriguing tidbits about her emporium.

Q: What was in this space before it was Acorn Farm?
A:  Long ago, it was Lovejoy’s Grocery Store, and the upper story once housed a telephone company. In 1989, I opened The Village Peddler gift shop here, but sold it after my third son was born. When my youngest was almost out of high school, I had the opportunity to start another business right here again, and I opened Acorn Farm.

Q: Milford seems to be full of fun eateries and shops. How do you like being located here?
A:  There aren’t really many villages left that have their original charm and a thriving downtown like we’re lucky to have in Milford. Every weekend, many people drive here from all over the metro area.

Q:  What cooking trends are you seeing?
A:  Cooking and sharing meals at home. Also, getting back to basics through local sourcing and farmers’ markets.

Q:  What are some upcoming cooking classes at your shop that might be of interest to various levels of home chefs?
A:  Fall Plates (autumn comfort foods, tapas-style), Cast-Iron Favorites (caramel-apple pork chops with apples), Braising 101 (Asian fare with Le Creuset), Knife Skills (including free knife sharpening for non-serrated knives), Thanksgiving Francais, Hands-On Christmas Cookies, and more — including a free Le Petite Dejeuner Lunch-and-Learn with Le Creuset on Oct. 22 from noon to 2 p.m. (Other class dates/times available at acornfarmmi.com.)

Q: What’s your favorite kitchen tool?
A: My Rösle vegetable peeler. With four boys and a husband, I’ve made a lot of mashed potatoes! (Read about Magaluk’s pie faves on the next page.) acornfarmmi.com — Honey Murray

Polish Pottery Adds European Flavor to Kitchens

Popular ware at Acorn Farm includes Polish pottery, shown at left, by Ceramika Artystyczna,  a co-op factory that’s owned by the artisans. Every piece is freezer-, oven-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe. “People collect it. It’s very beautiful, and you can use it every day,” says store owner Kathy Magaluk of the vibrant-colored, intricately detailed pieces.

Pleasing Pie

Some of this issue’s subjects share a slice of ideas about their favorite Thanksgiving sweets — plus our stylist gathers top baking essentials | By Megan Swoyer

Product: Emile Henry ruffled pie dish
Price: $30
Acorn Farm, Milford,

Product: Zyliss Slice & Serve Pie Server
Price: $13
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

Product: French Kitchen marble rolling pin with stand
Price: $20
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

Product: French Kitchen marble pastry slab
Price: $50
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

Product: Pie top crust cutter
Price: $20
Williams-Sonoma, metro Detroit area stores, williams-sonoma.com

Product: Copper measuring cups
Price: $25
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

Product: Acacia pie stand
Price: $40
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

Product: Aqua blue oven mitt
Price: $10
Crate & Barrel, Troy,

What’s your Thanksgiving dessert tradition?

“Cranberry crumble, a featured pie at Sister Pie in West Village. We serve it on vintage patterns of Golden Wheat and Daybreak Lenox china. It looks great.”

— Norman Silk, Blossoms, Birmingham and Detroit

“I love white dishware for serving apple and pumpkin pie because I can mix it with anything, including my vintage serving plates and bowls, and antique stemware.”

— Cheryl Nestro, Tutto Interiors, Northville

“Our company’s sweet potato pie. I serve it up with a pecan glaze and l carry it to friends in our Peterboro Pie Basket from Williams-Sonoma.”

— Mike Busley, Grand Traverse Pie Co., Traverse City

“My Dad’s apple pie, oozing with cinnamon, and my pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust. Rösle and Casafina chef tools (available at my boutique) are  great.”

— Kathleen McKay, Kathleen Design, Plymouth

“I bake my favorite pumpkin streusel pie in an Emile Henry dish (top left), carried at my store — this year’s color is pumpkin. It bakes the best crust by far.”

— Kathy Magaluk, Acorn Farm, Milford

Wright This Way

The Frank Lloyd Wright Affleck House in Bloomfield is Open for Events and Tours

On a woodsy lot along Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills, sunlight illuminates a hidden gem: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Affleck House.

When he moved here from Spring Green, Wis., Gregor Affleck (who invented a fast-drying paint for the automotive industry that is still in use today) wanted to create a special home for his family. Affleck contacted architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “Go far out of the city, and find something (property) with a little character in it,” Wright directed. “Something nobody else could do anything with.” The Affleck House, rising at the edge of a foliage-filled swale within a small forest, was completed in 1941 and is one of the first Frank Lloyd Wright homes built in metropolitan Detroit.

In 1978, the residence was donated to Southfield’s Lawrence Technological University (LTU) by Gregor P. Affleck and Mary Ann Affleck Lutomski Shurly, the Afflecks’ children, for use as a teaching resource for the university’s College of Architecture and Design. For the past seven years, a restoration council of Lawrence Tech Distinguished Architecture Award alumni members and LTU liaison and Director of Philanthropy Julie Vulaj have lovingly polished, repaired, and outfitted Affleck House. “We’ve been thrilled that, with all the help, at least $250,000 of restoration work has been completed for less than $100,000,” Vulaj says, “and we welcome additional volunteers — there’s lots to do!” Today, the house — with its rooms of  Tidewater red cypress; pigmented, radiant-heated cement floors; windowed walls and skylights; and 600 feet of built-in shelves — is rental-ready and available for use by corporations, organizations, and nonprofits for meetings, receptions, workshops, and small-group dinners.

“Guests at our donor and volunteer appreciation reception, and other events, have been delighted and enthralled with Affleck House and its renovation, which continues,” Vulaj says. “Quite often, those visitors become enthusiastic volunteers and donors.” Privately scheduled and monthly public tours are also available, and visitors can purchase black-and-white or color sketches and note cards of the home, as well as custom-made pens from its Tidewater red cypress, with proceeds supporting the ongoing restoration.“We look forward to welcoming our community as they enjoy this beautiful facility,” Vulaj says.
ltu.edu/affleck_house/ 248-204-2203  — Honey Murray

Rug Renovators

Brother-sister team brings back the beauty of vintage textiles

There’s no store in Michigan quite like Detroit Rug Restoration, say founders Edmond Hagopian and Angela Snow, shown below. The brother-and-sister duo launched the company earlier this year in association with Original Hagopian World of Rugs and Carpet Cleaning, which has been around for 75 years. The company sells, restores, repairs, and cleans older, vintage, and antique rugs. We caught up with Edmond to learn more.

Q: What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?
When people bring in a piece they’re emotionally attached to, and they really don’t think that there’s anything that can be done with it, and you’re able to restore it. The look on their face is just amazing.

Q: What do you look for in finding a rug that has potential?
Primarily, what we’re looking for is how much restoration really needs to be done. We want to make sure it’s an interesting piece, because there are an awful lot of rugs that are kind of average. Just (because they’re) old doesn’t necessarily make them better.

Q: Do you have a favorite restored rug in your home?
I have (a Turkoman) in my bedroom. I also have a nice blue antique Caucasian in my office. They have a lot of character. I think there’s a real craving for things that are unique. So much of what we have now is mass-produced. If you can make things that are interesting and one-of-a-kind affordable, I think it really opens up a whole new market for people who enjoy rugs.

Q: Can you describe your favorite rug of all time?
It was in our family room. It was a Spanish rug. (The design) was almost three-dimensional. I haven’t seen anything like that since. That’s why it’s in this place in my mind where it can never be real again. It’s kind of this mythical rug I grew up with. detroitrugrestoration.com — Dave Phillips

Art From the Heart

Metro Detroit artists showcase their passions at ArtPrize

ArtPrize, one of the world’s largest art competitions, with total prize money of $500,000, runs through Oct. 9 in Grand Rapids. Two metro Detroit artists whose work is appearing in this wildly popular citywide show for the first time are Weatherly Stroh of Birmingham and Bill Tite of Clawson.

Stroh’s 5-by- 15-foot artwork is a blend of 300 miniature animal paintings.

Bill tite

“I started the project in January,” says the painter, whose piece features mostly dogs and a few rabbits, birds, roosters, and cats. After working throughout the summer to meet her deadline, the artist is excited about her veritable portrait quilt of man’s best friends. Stroh says each miniature painting was inspired by images of real animals that she photographed with her Nikon at the Michigan Humane Society and the Humane Society of Western Michigan. “For paints, I used a limited palette, so that helps bring cohesion to the piece,” Stroh explains of the 6- by 6-inch oils. Each painting also features the animal’s name.

“I think their faces show different characteristics — some were leery, some were excited to have company,” she says. Stroh explains that this work, which stars everything from lab mixes and pit bulls to German shepherds and beagles, is a reflection of her involvement with the Humane Society, and she hopes it will help bring more awareness to the number of homeless animals that need adoption. “It was also a challenge I gave myself — something beyond the commission work that I normally do,” she says. Stroh’s piece will be linstalled at the City Water Building by the Richard App Gallery on Monroe Street.

Her favorite dog in the piece? “Max,” she says, looking at her painting of a St. Bernard/Akita mix. “I nearly took him home with me the day I photographed him. Later, I inquired about him and found out he was adopted!”

As passionate as Stroh is about animals, artist William Tite is equally devoted to the American flag. The work he has on display outdoors at Lifestyle Kitchen Studio on Fulton Street, called “Flag,” showcases a dozen or so variations of the American flag. Each flag is about 3-by-5-feet and was sewn on a Singer 401 sewing machine using cotton muslin fabric.

Weatherly Stroh

“The designs are identical to the American flag in every way — I went to the official U.S. website to get the proportions and design correct,” says Tite, who silk-screened each star onto the fabric. “The space between (the) stars is correct, and they’re all French-seamed. Every stripe is hand-cut,” he adds. Tite’s wife, Therese, a longtime seamstress, showed him how to sew the first flag, but after that, it was all up to Tite, who teaches art and design at Macomb Community College and is working on his master’s thesis.

“It’s been therapeutic,” he says. “It’s a very tactile process, with the textures, the thread, the old 1957 sewing machine.”

Tite’s flags are awash in everything from white, black, and pink to rainbow colors, plaids, and more. “I’ve had people ask, ‘Why are you changing the color of our flag?’ But really, ‘Flag’ is about design as identity,” he says. “Think of the cross, which you see in different colors, or plain, embossed, et cetera. It’s changed all the time, but people still identify with it.” Tite goes on to explain that calling his exhibit “Flag” provides viewers with something to think about. “Flag,” he says, “can (also) mean to grow tired.”

ArtPrize, which has become an annual fall event in downtown Grand Rapids, attracts as many as 400,000 attendees. Works created by 1,554 artists (1,012 from Michigan) pop up in nearly every inch of the downtown area, in some 170 venues. For more information, visit artprize.org.

Both of these featured artists’ works are available on a commission basis. Contact weatherlystroh@hotmail.com or btite@yahoo.com. — Megan Swoyer

October brings changes to The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, with the unveiling of a breathtaking private dining facility serviced by the Rugby Grille. Designed by Perlmutter-Freiwald interior designer Dan Clancy prior to his death earlier this year, and christened the “Clancy Room” (shown below), this elegant, art deco-style venue (townsendhotel.com) will be available for corporate meetings, showers, weddings, and will accommodate brunches/dinners for up to 75 and cocktail receptions for up to 150.

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Contour Development, a Bloomfield Hills-based developer, has opened the final phase of Barrington Cove (buybarrington.com), a condominium community in Lake Orion. The community’s last 12 homes offer maintenance-free living with high-quality finishes and four floor plans.

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Designer Kathleen McKay opened Kathleen Design (kathleendesign.com), a boutique/studio, at 470 Forest, Suite 3, in Plymouth. The company provides residential design services, and offers eclectic and custom home furnishings, chic gifts, and accessories.

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Judy Frankel Antiques (judyfrankelantiques.com) has moved from its Maple Road location in Troy to a nearly 13,000-square-foot space at 1748 Northwood Dr., Troy.

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Blossoms opened its long-anticipated Midtown florist location, at 4152 Third St. at Willis, in Detroit. Antique fixtures, discovered treasures, and repurposed items are used to display the company’s always-exciting inventory of fresh flowers. This locale also  features an art gallery showcasing the works of emerging artists. The owners  will continue to operate their Birmingham store as well (blossomsbirmingham.com).

Have news that pertains to the design industry that you’d like to share? Send a note to MSwoyer@hour-media.com.